One of the attributes of Instagram that I enjoy is the connections with art educators from all over the world, whether one might teach in a school or whether one might own their studio or if one is teaching to their own children at home, there are so many creative thinkers out there which I would never have the opportunity to communicate with otherwise. Shannon Merenstein from Hatch Studio in Pittsburg. PA, is someone that I have been emailing with since before she opened her studio last year. I feel lucky to have her to share project ideas, as well as the ups and downs of owning a small business connected to teaching art to children. I think, like me, she believes that we are creating a space for children and families to provide hope and healing and a safe place to explore not only materials but also ideas, critical inquiry and themselves.
Last week I saw these incredible big paper stars on the Hatch Studio Instagram feed. She got the idea from the feed of another art educator in the Pacific Northwest at the Honeybee Playschool. It's a bit like the telephone game we play with kids where the children whisper something to each other and each person has their own interpretation of what they heard until it turns into a very different idea.
At Purple Twig our idea was snowflakes. So we made gigantic snowflakes.
Now this project is right up my alley. It's made using simple recycled materials to create something dramatic and unusual. Someone donated a large stack of small paper bags to us a while ago and I have never known what to do with them so I gave 12 bags and a glue stick to the kids and they them glue together one bag on top of the other.
They then drew a zig zag onto the stack of bags to cut an outer shape of the snowflake.
When opened up, the simple stack of bags is transformed into these large round, rustic, dramatic, paper celebrations. When the kids open them up a lot of oooooh and aaaahs can be heard.
I then gave the children tempera cakes of whites and blues to paint them. I love the way the brown still shows underneath. The identity of the brown paper bag can still be seen.
We then spent some time making snowflakes which is also a great simple project for kids. Folding and cutting the paper is not all that easy. It strengthens these essential skills. We also talk about the uniqueness of each snowflake much like the individuality of each child.
We used a flower press to flatten our snowflakes. I find that kids love to learn to use tools of any kind.
The kids glued their snowflakes the middle of the large paper fans and some wanted the snowflakes hanging down like a big snowflake cloud.
I think I may be making these again to celebrate spring but making them into big flowers.
Such a rewarding project.